Though it represents a highly specific slice of American musical and cultural history, “Ain’t Misbehavin’” is one of those shows that never goes out of style.
Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., created the revue nearly 40 years ago from music composed or performed by Thomas “Fats” Waller, naming it for the 1929 Waller song whose now-familiar lyrics were written by Andy Razaf and Harry Brooks.
La Mirada Theatre delivers a direct look into a world of nightclubs and rent parties, stride piano and swing, all fueled by luscious ladies, rich foods, and mass quantities of alcohol and cannabis.
The venue’s and McCoy Rigby Entertainment’s revival scores on multiple fronts. First off are the arrangements and orchestrations (by Luther Henderson, Jeffrey Gutcheon and William Elliot), expertly handled by musical director Lanny Hartley and played by him, on piano, and by the six-man orchestra he conducts.
Then there are the supremely talented three woman and two men of director Ken Page’s cast, their period-perfect vocalizations of Waller’s immortal songs, and their effortless execution of Jeffrey Polk’s joyous, often raucously sexy choreography.
Frenchie Davis and Thomas Hobson fill the roles originally played by Nell Carter and André DeShields, while Boise Holmes, Amber Liekhus and Natalie Wachen carry forth the work of, respectively, the original cast’s Ken Page, Armelia McQueen and Charlayne Woodard.
The quintet is sumptuously costumed by Shon LeBlanc – the…